"This mission is a stepping stone to design and build our very own reusable spacecraft, and eventually [carry out] manned missions into space, too," he said.
 
For years India has been building communication and remote-sensing satellites, but this is the first time the country has deployed a reusable spacecraft.
 
The US, Russia, China, Japan and France have all successfully deployed reusable spacecraft in the past.
 
The capsule was sent into space as one of four payloads on January 10 from a launch pad 100km north of the Indian city of Chennai.
 
The capsule landed in the Bay of Bengal and coast guards have already fished the capsule from the sea, according to one scientist.
 
Indian space scientists are already preparing for the country's first unmanned lunar mission which is scheduled for launch in February 2008 and is to be powered by a locally built rocket.
 
Despite limited funding for the programme, India hopes to put an astronaut into space by 2014.